We weep with Hezekiah as he faces his own mortality. Hezekiah is scared and sad and ‘turned his face to the wall and prayed’ 20:2. If we’re honest, we will admit to our own private ‘facing the wall’ moments—those fragile, vulnerable moments when we say, ‘but this is so unfair God’.
But God is good to Hezekiah and grants him extra years, even a sign. However, Hezekiah errs in a judgement that will cost future generations dearly—he vainly allows the Babylonian envoy to see what a rich and successful king he is. When Isaiah pronounces his foolishness and the subsequent loss of the kingdom, Hezekiah isn’t too disturbed. He thinks, “Will there not be peace and security in my lifetime?”. His son will reap the consequences of Hezekiah’s foolishness and Hezekiah thinks that’s ok because at least he wont be affected! In Australia we call that attitude, “I’m alright jack!”
Caring about what kind of legacy we leave is important. Every spiritual generation leaves a legacy for the Christians that follow. At Figtree we are pleased to leave the next FAC generation a great min facility and some great equity. Even so, buildings are not legacies.
The legacy we hope we don’t leave is complacency, a consumer mentality, and carelessness to doctrine.
My personal wish-list for the legacy we leave is:
1. a reliance and high regard for God’s word over trends
2. a desire to hear God’s Spirit leading them
3. a vision that engages their culture thoughtfully and shrewdly
4. a big heart for the lost & broken
5. strong, critical thinkers who will speak into public Christianity and challenge the church to live faithfully.
WHAT ELSE WOULD YOU ADD?…
The question is, ‘how’ do we leave that legacy?
On that note, Peter warns of the danger always prevalent for next generations…
“just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them – bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their depraved conduct and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. In their greed these teachers will exploit you with fabricated stories”
I think the answer (among other things) is that we must model spiritual discernment. We must cultivate a strong Bible reading culture and guard our pulpit.
Sydney Anglican Diocese has left a legacy. Our own Moore College is one of the leading theological colleges and has made major contributions to sound Biblical commentary and theological thinking, globally. The Gafcon* movement which grew largely from Sydney Diocese has been a strong support to African evangelicals pressured by the more liberal parts of Christianity to throw away sound doctrine. Sure, we might lack in some of the more flamboyant abilities, but Peter says being spiritually discerning is critical.
Like any culture, the Christian culture can be one generation from losing the things that it takes for granted. Guard and preserve the disctinctives you hope to pass onto our children and children in the faith.
* The GAFCON journey began in 2008 when moral compromise, doctrinal error and the collapse of biblical witness in parts of the Anglican communion had reached such a level that the leaders of the majority of the world’s Anglicans felt it was necessary to take a united stand for truth. A crowd of more than one thousand witnesses, including Primates, Archbishops, Bishops, clergy and lay leaders gathered in Jerusalem for the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON).
Follow this link to read the Gafcon confession